SEMA in review: Ingenuity rules, but fuel choice still missing

Our friend John Brackett, one of the stars of the Fuel Freedom-produced PUMP, attended the giant SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) expo in Las Vegas last week.

What he found was the usual mind-blowing parade: thousands upon thousands of amazing, tricked-out vehicles. And of course ingenious technology, the product of some of the most intelligent minds who are in the business of making after-market car components.

What he found lacking, though, was fuel choice.

Here’s his report:

SEMA Exhibitors have solutions ready:

Fuel component manufacturers made it clear that dealing with ethanol and methanol fuels would be easy on their end. Companies that alter a car’s software said it’d be no problem running several fuels with their devices or programs. The car makers have put fuel choice into vehicles for a century with tens of millions already on the road. Every vehicle sold since the Oil Embargo[hyperlink to wiki Oil Embargo] should have had fuel choice. For the last quarter century, we’ve been able to update a car’s software to adjust to different fuels with no additional parts. There is no reason we can’t run on performance fuels right now.

American “Enginuity” is alive:

No two vehicles looked the same, and everyone had a different interpretation of their ideal driving experience. Even with such ingenuity, what 98.6 percent of the vehicles had in common was no fuel choice. I saw V8 engines installed in series, radial airplane engines, super-turbocharged cars, an ice cream-making Kia Soul, a wagon that unfolds into a beer stand, and a 3D-printed car. With so many options, what is holding us back from fuel choice?

Dollars per horsepower matters:

One could easily double, if not sextuple, the cost of a vehicle with some of the solutions at SEMA. Yet those solutions wouldn’t be displayed if there weren’t a demand. These companies spend millions of dollars to develop some very unique solutions for the aftermarket vehicle enthusiasts. Dollar for dollar, using ethanol or methanol over gasoline gives one a more powerful and exciting driving experience. On a naturally aspirated vehicle, adding 5-10 percent horsepower with an aftermarket intake and exhaust system will cost darn near $1,000. Why not choose a fuel that gives you that same power gain and costs 25-40 percent less to drive on?

Now watch Bracket’s video, and see how many incredible vehicles you can name:

Hollander: Oil is a ‘burden for the American people’

Fuel Freedom co-founder and Chairman Yossie Hollander guided PUMP the movie to a successful weekend in Atlanta, hosting two Q&As after Friday night’s and Saturday night’s showings at the historic Plaza Theatre.

He also promoted the film and its message on radio, appearing on both WMLB-AM1690 (“The Voice of the Arts”) and its sister station, WCFO-AM1160 (“The Talk of the Town”). You can listen to the first interview below:

During the segment, Hollander was asked how he got involved with PUMP, a project more than two years in the making.

He answered: “We realized long ago that oil is one of the toughest problems we have. We are funding our enemies, but it’s mainly a burden for the American people. It’s the air we breathe. The brown cloud you see above Atlanta is not from coal, it’s from oil.

“And mostly it’s the burden on our pockets. Families really suffer, and we figured out this is the biggest problem that we can solve. If we can do it with cheaper American fuels, we can actually change America.”

Here’s the second interview, on WCFO, which aired Saturday and Sunday:

PUMP premiered in September and continues to play in theaters around the country. This week it debuts in Tucson, Anchorage and Brunswick, Maine. Visit PumpTheMovie.com for theaters and times, and to buy tickets.

Yet more evidence that air pollution harms health

Research announced this week at the University of Pittsburgh is only the latest to suggest a link between air pollution and a higher risk of children developing autism.

Motor vehicles – cars, trucks and SUVs – account for about half the air pollution in the United States, the EPA says, with much of the rest coming from industrial sources and coal-fired power plants.

Smog levels are much worse in urban areas than rural ones: According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2014 report, 47 percent of the nation — 147.6 million people — live in places where pollution levels make it dangerous to breathe.

Air toxics, as they’re called, can contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems; heart disease. Experts think that these toxics can have a particularly devastating impact on babies when they’re in the womb, and when the children are very young.

Although much of the science on these effects has only been conducted in the past decade, a 2008 report at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability says: “Recently this research has begun to focus on one specific source of modern-day air pollution – traffic exhaust.”

The study, led by Dr. Beate Ritz, goes on:

“These studies largely focused on potential mortality impacts of airborne particulate matter small enough to penetrate into the human respiratory tract, referred to as PM10 (particulate matter less than 10 microns in aerodynamic diameter) and more recently have examined PM2.5, even smaller size particles which can penetrate deep into the lung. Most findings from this research indicated infants living in areas with high levels of these types of particulate matter had a greater risk of mortality during the first year of life, particularly from respiratory causes.”

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a neurological disorder whose symptoms can range from having trouble fitting in with peers to repetitive behaviors to a complete lack of communication and even seizures, now affects an estimated 1 in every 68 U.S. children, a 30 percent increase since 2012. Little is still known about the causes, but many experts believe genetics or environmental exposures, or a combination, are to blame.

The University of Pittsburgh report, led by a health professor of epidemiology named Evelyn Talbott, found that children who were somewhere on the autism spectrum were 1.4 to 2 times as likely to have been exposed to air pollution during their mothers’ pregnancies, compared with children who did not have an ASD. The affected children showed higher levels of styrene, cyanide and chromium.

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a UC Davis researcher not affiliated with the Pitt study, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that this and other studies like it “do suggest some kind of a link where a family who has children with autism were living usually closer to areas with higher [air toxic] measurements.”

In Utah, where some regions have very poor air quality in wintertime, the incidence of autism is 1 in 47 children, far higher than the national average. Earlier this year, a Harvard study showed that “exposure in the womb to diesel, lead, manganese, mercury, methylene chloride and an overall measure of metals was ‘significantly associated with autism spectrum disorder,’ with the highest association from exposure to diesel exhaust,” according to a story in the Provo Herald Extra.

Given the significant adverse health effects that result from gasoline when it’s combusted inside engines, it makes sense to incorporate cleaner-burning fuels into the nation’s fleet of vehicles. The EPA says as much, saying replacement fuels, including “natural gas, propane, methanol, ethanol, electricity, and biodiesel” can be ” cleaner than gasoline or diesel and can reduce emissions of harmful pollutants.”

(Photo: Los Angeles air, via Shutterstock)

Yossie to Frank Gaffney: Fuel choice will de-fund terrorism

Hollander-GaffneyAmong the many benefits of giving consumers fuel choice at the pump, this one might be the most valuable for the security of the United States: Reducing our dependence on oil by using other types of fuel to power our vehicles will cut off the revenue stream for terrorists that threaten the U.S. and its allies.

That’s one of important messages Fuel Freedom Foundation co-founder and chairman Yossie Hollander shared with talk-show host Frank Gaffney in a wide-ranging hourlong interview broadcast Thursday.

During the interview on Gaffney’s Secure Freedom Radio program, Hollander said diverting oil money away from extremists will reduce their ability to carry out attacks. As a parallel, he cited the fall of communism in 1989.

For decades, Hollander said, “we faced a threat from the communist side of the world. And we kind of fought all kinds of small skirmishes around the world. Some of them were larger, like in Vietnam. But overall, different local wars around the world. And we never actually won anything until we … decided we want to de-fund them.

“And we won, actually, against communism by de-funding communism. … starting a race which they couldn’t compete, for new weapons.”

Gaffney noted that the “de-funding” strategy that worked against communism then could also work “another totalitarian ideology bent on our destruction.”

Hear the full program:

Gaffney said he was going to check out “PUMP,” which is playing in Washington and other cities around the country this weekend. Visit www.PumpTheMovie.com for theaters and showtimes.

Hollander said the film, like Fuel Freedom, is a non-partisan endeavor. Ending our reliance on oil for transportation fuel, and moving toward a system that allows replacement fuels like ethanol, methanol and natural gas to compete on an even footing with gasoline, will take the efforts people from across the political spectrum.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pump in the U.S. that says Republican or Democrat on it,” Hollander said. “We all pay the same price. … the point is, we’re presenting options. This is about choice.”

Hey, I own a flex-fuel vehicle. Now what?

E85editThere are somewhere between 15 million and 17.5 million flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) on the road in the United States. The Big 3 Detroit automakers have delivered on their promise to make half of all their new vehicles (built since the 2012 model year) flex-fuel.

With so many FFVs out there, why don’t more people know that those vehicles run great on ethanol?

FFVs can accommodate any ethanol blend, from the widely used E10 (which contains up to 10 percent ethanol … what most of us fill up on every day) to E15, E30, all the way up to E85 (which actually contains anywhere between 51 percent and 83 percent ethanol). Engines in FFVs can burn any mixture of ethanol and regular gasoline.

And yet surveys consistently show that only a fraction of people who own an FFV know that it can run on fuel other than the garden-variety E10.

How do you know you’re driving an FFV?

  • The most common identifier for vehicle that’s been “branded” an FFV by the manufacturer is a FlexFuel badge somewhere on the vehicle’s exterior, usually the rear.
  • FFVs normally have a sticker inside the fuel door.
  • For good measure, the gas cap is yellow.
  • The vehicle’s owner’s manual will mention it’s an FFV.
  • Often a particular make and model of car will be an FFV, and an identical one won’t be. To tell the difference, visit PropelFuels.com (a distributor of ethanol). They have a handy list of vehicle manufacturers, with a drop-down menu showing which of their models are FFVs. Just to confirm, they list key digits or letters in the VIN that will be a clear indicator.

Most new pickup trucks, and many SUVs, are branded as flex-fuel, so you’re probably used to seeing FFVs on the road. If you’re the proud owner of one, your next step is to find the fuel that will not only make the vehicle’s engine run more smoothly, with fewer knocks and pings, it burns cleaner, emitting fewer toxic substances than regular gas.

Check the Alternative Fuels Data Center website to find stations that sell E85 and other ethanol blends. Many of them are located in the Farm Belt and other Midwestern states, owing to the close proximity to corn-ethanol processing plants. But there are some 1,300 such stations around the country.

For various reasons, automakers build some vehicles that can run on ethanol but aren’t branded as “FlexFuel.” These are called “twins,” because in every meaningful way they’re identical to the FFV version. And there are millions of those on the road, too. All they require is a simple software update that can be done by a mechanic with the know-how.

If only a small percentage of FFV owners out there started using E85, we could make a serious dent in oil consumption in the United States.

Believe it: PUMP beat ‘Maze Runner’ at the box office

Pump-marqueePUMP opened well in its opening weekend, ranking among the highest-grossing films in the country in the important category of per-screen average (PSA) gross receipts.

The full-length documentary played in three theaters (one in Los Angeles and two in New York City) from Friday through Sunday, but those theaters took in an average of $14,067, according to the website Box Office Mojo. That put PUMP fifth among all of the week’s releases, ahead of even the overall box-office champ, “The Maze Runner” ($9,021 PSA).

PUMP’s showing was a “very good start” for a documentary playing in just two cities, writes Tom Brueggemann on the Thompson on Hollywood blog:

The directors of the environment-related docs “Fuel” and “The Big Fish” combined with the distributor of “Chasing Ice” to launch what is initially a very good start in New York and Los Angeles. “Ice” got to an impressive (for a message doc) $1.3 million, and this looks like it might be off to some similar success.

PUMP is coming to more cities this week, including Boston and Salt Lake City. Southern Californians will have several more opportunities to catch it: It’s playing at the Crest in Westwood Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena on the same days.

Visit PumpTheMovie.com for dates times, as well as the full list of cities so far. You can buy advance tickets as well.

Meantime, the early reviews of PUMP are in, and the best among them take the time to consider the impact of the message, not just the artistic value of directors.

Take this one from Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter:

“The shift from quiet how-we-got-here outrage to hope, in the form of hands-on specifics, torques Pump and gives it momentum. From a well-illustrated lecture, the movie turns into an advocacy manual, illuminating information that Big Oil would rather keep under wraps. Joining the talking-head policy wonks are entrepreneurs and citizen hackers who have devised real solutions to counter oil’s stranglehold.”

If word of mouth on PUMP keeps spreading, more theater managers will book the film. We want as many people to see it as possible so we can make our voices heard.

Visit PumpTheMovie.com to learn how you can help.

Related posts:

 

 

Hannity on PUMP: A story ‘America needs to know’

Sean Hannity is a big fan of the message contained within the documentary film PUMP, because it’s one he’s been promoting himself for years.

The conservative radio and Fox News host welcomed Fuel Freedom chairman and co-founder Yossie Hollander and board adviser John Hofmeister on “The Sean Hannity Show” on radio Thursday.

Hannity primed the pump for PUMP’s theatrical release Friday with this introduction:

“How many times have I said on this program that oil, energy, is the answer to all of our problems? I’ve said it so often. Well, now there is an eye-opening documentary that I want you to go see. … I have no [rooting] interest in this movie, except that it tells the story that I have been trying to tell you now for such a long period of time about America and how we can become energy independent, about how there’s a lot going on in the oil industry, where we all pay more. How we are all dependent on oil from countries, many of whom just kind of hate our guts. And it’s been put together in a fabulous documentary that is now gonna be released in movie theaters around the country [Friday].

Read more

Fuel Freedom to Gaffney: Price of oil is what matters

Americans often get caught up in where we get our oil, convinced that the goal should be to reduce our dependence on imported resources.

Yossie Hollander and Frank Gaffney.

Although that’s an admirable goal, the origin of the oil we use isn’t as important as the fact that it’s too expensive, Fuel Freedom chairman and co-founder Yossie Hollander said this week on Frank Gaffney’s “Secure Freedom Radio” show.  

To listen to the entire segment, click the player below:

 
Gaffney, who’s also a Washington Times columnist, began the segment with Yossie by asking whether the United States is “too dependent on world energy supplies, and the possibility that they might be interrupted.”
 
“I think people sometimes mistake the issue of dependency on oil as an import issue or an export issue,” Yossie replied. “The problem is the price. If oil was $1 a barrel, we wouldn’t mind if we imported it from anywhere in the world, because it wouldn’t fund anything that was operating against us.”
 
This line of thought highlighted one of the key pillars of Fuel Freedom’s message: That the wealth created by expensive oil often ends up underwriting violent extremist groups.
 
“If we reduce the price of oil to $50, $60 a barrel, then we can de-fund those elements,” Yossie said.

The price of Brent crude rose by $1.26 on Friday, to $103.40 a barrel, largely on concerns about the conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border.

Yossie explained that the solution is to “allow us choice at the pump” by forcing gasoline to compete with other fuels like ethanol and methanol. Alcohol fuels can be processed from a variety of resources widely available in the U.S., including corn, natural gas, garbage and biomass.
 
“We have so many resources that can produce liquid fuels that are cheaper than gasoline by at least a dollar a gallon,” he said.
 
Asked by Gaffney what needs to happen to clear the way for competition, Yossie said:
 
“I think what we’re promoting the most is the ability to covert your car. We figure that most of the cars built in the last 20 years can probably be converted to run on various liquid fuels, all in the same tank. And that can be done for less than $300 per car, if the regulations allowed it.”
 
All of these issues are laid out in the Fuel Freedom-produced documentary, “PUMP,” coming to theaters in September. Which Gaffney is eager to see.
 
“Fuel choice is the name of the game, it seems to me,” he said.  “I think this is a tremendously important initiative. I look forward to seeing the movie.”

 

———

Keep up.  Stay connected with the latest news and happenings of Fuel Freedom
Join our email list

Join the conversation.  We’re not just here to educate, we’re also here to exchange and listen…after all, your voice is very important.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google Plus | LinkedIn

Time to declare independence from expensive oil

shutterstock_194720870Happy Fourth, America. Take the day off. Take three days off, actually.

On this day, 238 years after the phrase “Put your John Hancock right here” was born, we celebrate our nation’s Declaration of Independence from Britain in different ways. We can run a 5K, stay put and watch a parade, buy a hundred bucks’ worth of rockets’ red glare at the fireworks stand, or keep the home fires burning at the grill.

Many of us will observe that most American of traditions – climbing into our cars and hitting the open road. AAA Travel estimates that 41 million Americans are venturing at least 50 miles from home sometime between July 2-6. Eighty percent of them, 34.8 million people, are choosing vehicles as their mode of transport. That’s the highest number since 2007, before the recession.

We cherish our “unalienable rights,” as the Founding Fathers decreed on that mild 76-degree day in Philadelphia (Jefferson took note of the temperature) on July 4, 1776. But our freedom to choose our own destiny ends once we pull up to the gas pump.

At the pump, our only fuel choice is gasoline refined from crude oil. Although domestic oil production keeps growing, surging demand here and around the world has kept prices inflated. The U.S. average for a gallon of regular unleaded on June 24 was $3.667 in the U.S., according to the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That’s 19 cents higher than a year ago.

Fuel Freedom Foundation is working to bring competition to the U.S. transportation fuel marketplace for the first time by making it easier to obtain other fuels like ethanol and methanol. These fuels, which can be made from abundant natural gas, are cheaper to buy and cleaner to burn than gasoline. Giving consumers choices will give them more money to spend, create jobs, improve health and mark the beginning of the end of our addiction to imported oil.

We don’t have to accept high gas prices as a fact of life. We can fight back. Just ask the guys in the powdered wigs who put pen to paper more than two centuries ago.